Slice Of Life Tuesday- Treasure and Trash Makes A Writer Rehash

I took a Sunday drive with my wife to visit some nearby antique stores recently. We were on the hunt for some colourful glass jars. At least my wife, Vicki was. 
I, on the other hand had different motivation. I was on a nostalgia kick. The curious learner in me was in search of artifacts and books from the past to jog my memory.

Going to antique stores is a bit like entering a time machine that only travels backwards. In such places the valuable and rare continue to exist alongside the everyday and seemingly worthless. Some items survive in abundance while others make fleeting appearances like endangered species.

Our scanning of these stores was leisurely and decidedly unrushed. Around each bend and corner lay discoveries connected to childhoods long gone. Memories and recollections came flooding back of collectibles and contraptions consigned to history by technological advancement.  The dust of time had settled on so many of these curiosities.

We found it easy to connect these items to events closely connected to our families. At one point I spotted an art-deco smoker’s stand, exactly like the one my father used through thirty years of smoking. Just like the smoker’s stand that stood alongside his favourite chair in the lounge room all those years ago.
Later my eyes fell upon green glassware of the type my mother collected in abundance. Bowls, vases, glasses,  butter dishes all in the green glass known as Depression glass.
Green Depression Glass
Further into our discovery trail I chanced upon some old wooden boxes, we used to refer to as lettuce boxes. I recall them as a small boy being used by vegetable growers and farmers to transport lettuces to the markets and shops. They were a common sight and you could easily acquire them for free. Now, they attract a price of $25 each and people use them as a form of rustic shelving or for storage of items, -probably not lettuce. As a boy, my friends and I used these roughly hewn boxes to fashion crude carriages when making billy carts. We would remove the front panel from the box, secure it onto a frame, attached four wheels and a rope and immediately go looking for a hill to race down. The fact the cart had no brakes didn't seem to faze us. It was a cheap and nasty form of construction. Sitting snugly inside a small splinter riddled box was never very comfortable, but the thrill of the ride quickly took over.

Wooden 'Lettuce Box' $25
Ah yes, memories, and what great fodder for the writer. Memoirists should make a point of  browsing antique stores, it certainly throws up possibilities. An abundance of visible history markers. Around every corner so many tangible reminders await the treasure seeker. So many connections to people and events. A fascinating form of research.  I came away with a handful of cheap, classic books, a retro sign and a host of potential writing ideas. Oh, and we managed to find an array of colourful glass jars. What a fruitful expedition it turned out to be.
Smoker's Stand
Old Plastic Bottle Seal


  1. We find some scattered green glass washed up in our local river from time to time, part of the echoes of a massive flood many years ago that washed away houses and devastated the area. But clay pots and glass filter up, as if messages from the past. Interesting to see your picture, there.

  2. :) what a great idea for inspiring writing, triggering memories at an antique shop! enjoyed this piece and the pictures thank you.

  3. For some things I only need to travel my house, but I had a sale a few years ago when I moved & sold those old wooden boxes, kept only one, from my husband's grandfather's grocery. I loved hearing about your journey, Alan.

  4. I love tag sales and thrift shops for exactly the reasons you've written about - rich writing sources.

  5. Such beautiful treasures. I love antique shops. I got a little worried when items from my own childhood starting showing up in these stores.... am I that old?! :)

  6. A day well spent, gathering items and memories. I had to laugh at your splinter riddled box memory. What fun was created from such simple items!

  7. What a great adventure shared with us Alan. I love your writer's connection even though the musty odors in antique shops hit me hard. I was great moving around with you :)

  8. Green Depression collection even though small. I wonder how it felt to "get" a piece at the movies long ago at a time when such niceties were rare?


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